Usually when a room full of people are chanting "Dudes! Dudes! Dudes!" it's a bachelorette party in a Vegas hotel suite. But last week, when the refrain erupted inside Hot's Kitchen in Hermosa Beach, it was not for male strippers. It was for L.A.'s newest microbrewery --The Dudes' Brewing Company.
Starting with a soft-launch tapping at Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach last Wednesday, The Dudes' Brewing Company spent an extended weekend hosting events at various South Bay beer bars, showing off the Torrance production brewery's initial four releases: a dry-hopped pale ale, a pecan brown ale, a blood orange amber and a coconut porter.
The brainchild of Strand Brewing Company's original brewmaster -- Redondo Beach-born surfer-turned-homebrewer Jeff Parker --The Dudes' has been in planning for more than two years and was finally made possible by several investors, including majority owner Toby Humes (who is often introduced as "The Big Dude"). Although the group stayed mum on their progress until announcing launch parties earlier this month, Parker and Humes -- along with a Sales Dude, Marketing Dude and Cellar Dude -- have created one of the South Bay's most ambitious brewery projects to date.
In addition to 15 (soon to be 30) large fermenters, The Dudes' brewery also features five custom grain silos, stamped kegs bearing the brewery's name, and (according to the Daily Breeze) a computer-automated brewing system that Parker designed by hand. In June, a 30-foot-long canning line is expected to arrive with six-packs of the Coastal Eddy Kolsch, and Double Trunk Imperial IPA to be released into the L.A. market soon after.
Despite all of these amenities, however, Head Brew Dude Parker insists on doing the important stuff by hand. Over breakfast beers at Simmzy's in Manhattan Beach on Saturday, he told us how he and his team peeled an entire pallete of blood oranges by hand just so their Juicebox Blood Orange Amber ale -- a winter seasonal -- would have the right flavor. They also opted to toast Georgia pecans (instead of using extract, which would have been much easier) for their Grandma's Pecan Brown, one of their year-round beers. "Some things just have to be done," said Parker.
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The Dudes' Brewing hopes to produce 12,000 barrels in its first year -- 4,000 more than Golden Road Brewing did in its first year and nearly six times what the Boston Beer Company-owned Angel City Brewing hopes to do in its first. If Parker and Humes do hit that massive mark by March of 2014, they would become the second-largest "by volume" start-up in craft beer history.
With kegs rolling out to a dozen or so draft accounts in the next few weeks (and more anticipated as canning gets closer), the Lebowski-loving dudes are looking forward to making the most of their grandiose facility.
"Most start-ups don't have the kind of space that we do," said Humes, noting that more fermentation tanks means Dudes' can produce higher-alcohol beers that take longer to make. "We can have a year-round double IPA and are even going to be brewing our first anniversary beer soon. It'll be a big, double version of Grandma's Pecan Brown. We're calling it 'Great Grandma's.'"
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